Other Minds, Inc., in association with the Djerassi Resident Artists Program, presented Other Minds Festival V at the Cowell Theater, Fort Mason Center in San Francisco, March 25-27, 1999.
The fifth Other Minds festival featured composers Linda Bouchard, Mary Ellen Childs, Luc Ferrari, Alvin Lucier, António Pinho Vargas, Julian Priester, Sam Rivers, Errollyn Wallen, and special guest artist Margaret Leng Tan. Each concert was preceded by a panel discussion with the evening’s artists, moderated by Other Minds’ Executive & Artistic Director, Charles Amirkhanian.
The third and final concert began with a pre-recorded work by legendary avant-garde French composer Luc Ferrari. Ferrari, well known for his "musique concrète", presented the U.S. premiere of the 4th segment in his "Presque Rien" series. The first half also featured yet another suite of works for the toy piano played by Margaret Leng Tan. The second half of the concert presented five lively works by Mary Ellen Childs, all performed by her kinetic percussion group, CRASH.
Concert 3, Saturday, March 27 1999
Luc Ferrari, Presque Rien No. 4, "La remontée du village" ("Almost Nothing No. 4, 'The Ascent to the Village'"; 1998), United States Premiere
“Presque Rien No. 4, ‘La remontée du village’” (”Almost Nothing No. 4, ‘The Ascent to the Village’") was completed in 1998 and here receives its American premiere. It is a tape work with a ground bass ambient style. Throughout the length of the piece one hears a recording of Ferrari and his longtime collaborator and wife, Brunhild Meyer-Ferrari, walking in the Italian town of Ventemillia, just across the French border near Monte Carlo. They slowly ascend a steep hill into the town, recording all the way whatever they encounter. Overlaid on this pedestrian activity is a panoply of digital signal processing of individual moments and overlays of other unrelated sounds which form the musical construct of the piece.
John Cage, Suite for Toy Piano (1948)
Margaret Leng Tan, toy piano
Cage wrote his “Suite for Toy Piano” at Black Mountain College in North Carolina for Merce Cunningham's “Diversion”. Its five short movements use only nine consecutive white notes. As such it can ostensibly be played on virtually any toy piano, even one with painted black keys. One of the most charming and whimsical of his compositions, it is filled with Cagean irony and humor, as in the exaggerated dynamic extremes from sffz to ppp. As if a toy piano could have such capabilities! Nonetheless, the pianist tries his best and from the effort subtle differences emerge. I would like to dedicate this performance to Schroeder. - Margaret Leng Tan
António Pinho Vargas (arranged by Margaret Leng Tan), General Complex (1995), United States Premiere
Margaret Leng Tan, two toy pianos
The blues ambiance of “General Complex” reflects António Pinho Vargas' experience as a jazz pianist, while his "serious" composer side surfaces in the atonal second half of the piece. The wistful codetta strikes me as virtually tailor-made for the toy piano! - Margaret Leng Tan
Guy Klucevsek, Sweet Chinoiserie (1995; arranged by the composer for Margaret Leng Tan, 1996), West Coast Premiere
Margaret Leng Tan, toy pianos, toy accordion, melodica, toy drums and rattles, glasses, soya sauce dishes & cat food cans
Not With My Chopsticks You Don't!
Silent as Swans
The Mark of A Hero
Guy Klucevsek is a renowned new music accordionist and composer. “Sweet Chinoiserie” consists of three toy instrumental adaptations of Klucevsek's music for “Chinoiserie”, a music theater collaboration with Ping Chong & Company. The title of the Suite's third movement, “The Mark of a Hero”, derives from the brand name of the toy accordion. - Margaret Leng Tan
Toby Twining, Satie Blues (1989; arranged by the composer for Margaret Leng Tan, 1995), West Coast Premiere
Margaret Leng Tan, toy piano & piano
Composer/vocalist Toby Twining's music and voice can be heard on his CD “Shaman”, featuring his vocal quartet, Toby Twining Music. Twining had made an earlier vocal arrangement of “Satie Blues” for his group. The version for toy piano and piano is probably the first-ever composition featuring this unique blend of instruments. - Margaret Leng Tan
Toby Twining, Nightmare Rag (1989; arranged by the composer for Margaret Leng Tan, 1995), West Coast Premiere
Margaret Leng Tan, toy piano & piano
Composer/vocalist Toby Twining's music and voice can be heard on his CD “Shaman”, featuring his vocal quartet, Toby Twining Music. “Nightmare Rag” is a delightfully hilarious slice of modern-day Americana laced with sly allusions to “The Addams Family”. - Margaret Leng Tan
Ms. Tan plays the Schoenhut toy piano
I N T E R M I S S I O N
Mary Ellen Childs, Sight of Hand (1999), World Premiere
Mary Ellen Childs is a composer for whom the creation of music involves more than the notation of symbols on a page. She is involved in the creative process from conception through composition through staging, often working much like a stage director or choreographer as well as a composer to create musical pieces that incorporate visual media. She has created numerous "visual percussion" pieces for her company CRASH, a vibrant and energizing ensemble that embodies the concept of music in motion. CRASH's bold, kinetic style integrates music and dance and theater in fresh and unexpected ways.
“Sight of Hand” had its World premiere and was commissioned for the OM 5 Festival with the assistance of the Rockefeller Foundation Multi-Arts Production Fund.
Mary Ellen Childs, Shiva (1994), West Coast Premiere
Mary Ellen Childs, Drum Roll (1998), West Coast Premiere
Mary Ellen Childs, Click (1989), West Coast Premiere
Mary Ellen Childs, Talking Stick (1998), West Coast Premiere
Eric A. Sundeen
[Notes taken from original printed program.]
For more detailed program information and to browse other material in the Other Minds Archive visit: radiOM.org